teaching points, 2 ‘love’s question’ part b

18 Jul

To briefly review ‘love’s question part a:

after hearing Tim Keller’s teaching on the Book of Hosea, I went back, involuntarily, in time and memory to my first Christian steps with the book and the person of Hosea. ( part a )

In Tim’s Q & A session after the talk I asked in Hunter’s auditorium the following question,

How can Hosea love again? How can you, I, be able to love again? How Could someone after a Gomer’s deceits love her or another again? How would, could such a return to love be possible?

Tim tried to stall for time and then responded. Here, in a summary, is what I heard:

Tim talked about forgiveness. He moved us to Matthew 18 to see Jesus’ teaching to us and specifically to Peter on forgiving.

from Matthew 18

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Tim’s simple and elegant point from from and on this text was and is unless we forgive the person who hurt us, our Gomer’s, from the heart we can never fully love.

Our, true forgiveness, flows from the heart. From a Hosea heart.

My personal take away from Tim’s talk, sermon that day was when he spoke about God, our Father, crying for, crying over, us, his Israel, the passage he used,

from Hosea 11

8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim?

9 My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.

I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again.

For I am God, and not a man the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities.”

So, Verse 8 speaks of ‘all my compassion is aroused.’

This phrase in the Hebrew communicates tears. Crying, overwhelming emotion. The Father cries over our hurts; and how we hurt him. Yet, He forgives us, just as the King in Matthew 18 forgives his unmerciful servant. Truth, healing is in forgiveness, in mercies, in tears.

truth: we are all at times both Gomers and Hoseas; the wrong doers and the innocent; the supernaturally faithful and the spectacularly unfaithful.

If we forgive, if we let, completely ‘let’ go with open hands, we can feel words and wounds. We can feel also feel the touch on a shoulder by a hurting fellow servant in a NYC auditorium. ( see blog love’s question, part a )

Forgive to feel, to cry and then, you can, will be able to love again.

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